The sun was making its way into the sky when Korian decided to stop for a rest. Eli didn't know how long they'd been walking for, a few hours at most. His legs were tired; his arms were tired. He was tired. But he didn't think he could sleep, not after the night he had.
Every time he closed his eyes, even for a second, the man he had killed would appear. He'd see him on his knees, lying in the dirt, running for him, and every time there would be blood, so much blood. He didn't think he'd ever seen that much before, not in real life.
Korian kept checking on him while they were walking, but Eli never said more than a couple of words. It took the other man a while to realise that Eli just wanted silence, but eventually, Korian did, grabbing a hold of Eli's hand for support. He had felt more comforted by that than anything else his friend had said to him.
It wasn't a clearing they set up in this time, but at the base of a tree instead. Korian had told him that it would be unsafe to try another clearing and that they would only be here for an hour or two, just long enough for a nap.
Korian went to sleep quickly, leaning up against the tree. He told Eli to keep watch and to wake him if anything happened. Eli would have to wake him up in an hour to swap duties. He wasn't sure if he would actually get some sleep, but he figured it would be worth a shot at some point.
He sat in silence for that hour, lost in his own thoughts. He was debating telling Korian that he wasn't going to do it, that they could find someone else, but he knew that that was a lie. There was no one else who could kill the Mage except him.
All he wanted was to go back home, to see his mother and friends again, to go back to school and hand in badly done homework. He even wanted to go do exams at this point, anything to get away from Arumni and the weight he had on his shoulders.
Next, to him, Korian slept peacefully, reminding Eli so much of that friend he had back home, the one he missed so dearly. He didn't know how the other man could be so peaceful when he had killed so many the night before. Eli could only assume he had done it before and was used to it by now. How could anyone be used to something like that? To Eli, it was monstrous.
His stomach cramped up at the thought, and Eli once again felt like he was going to vomit. He had killed a man, granted that man was trying to hurt him, but that didn't mean anything. He had taken a life, ripped someone from their family. They would no longer walk or talk or do anything ever again. All because of him.
"Stop thinking," a tired voice grumbled from next to him. Korian sat up, glaring sleepily at him. "I know what you are thinking. Stop it."
Eli swivelled around, eyebrows furrowed and a frown on his face. "But-"
"No," Korian said, grabbing Eli's hand. "They attacked us. They were ready to die when they did. Do not blame yourself. You were protecting yourself. Please, Eli, trust me, you did the right thing. I know you did not mean to, but you would have died if you did not."
Eli breathed out a sigh. Part of him wanted to listen to Korian's words, another part wanted to push him away and scream in his face about how it was his fault! It was! Instead, he got up, brushing down his pants and looking down at the other man.
"We should go," he said. "How long until we get there?"
Korian huffed out a breath, knowing that he had lost that battle. He pushed himself up, giving Eli a sad look. "Not long," he replied, "Two or three hours, I think."
All Eli did was nod, strutting off in the direction they had been going before. Korian jogged up next to him. Out of the corner of his eye, Eli saw him lift his hand, to do what he wasn't sure, then watched him drop it again with a shake of his head.
YOU ARE READING
The Other Side Of The Mirror ✔Fantasy
[LGBTQ+ FANTASY NOVELLA] Arumni, a land of peace and prosperity, of happiness and magic, where people of all kinds can live long, successful lives. A land where magic is as abundant as water, flowing through everything in the realm. A land of beauty...